Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Start at the End and Work Backwards

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

The ink is going to run.

If you don’t think of that, you’re going to make a bad newspaper ad like the one I’m looking at.

The words are white, surrounded by color.  I’m sure it looked good on the computer screen, but they didn’t think about the end result, so the ink bled into the small, white letters making them impossible to read.

When you design a sign, don’t start on your computer screen.  Go out and stand where the sign will be posted.  Start at the end and work backwards.

One local church spent the money and posted a beautiful billboard; but I guess they didn’t go look at the site.  The billboard was surrounded by trees, but what did they do?  They made the billboard green, too! 

This is great advice in so many areas of life:  start at the end and work backwards.

I want to grow old and live out my days with the wife of my youth.  I knew that the day we married, so looking at that end helps me make wise decisions today.

Parenting – wow.  My end was that I wanted my children to grow up and be self-sustaining adults, contributing to society, and having their own relationship with Jesus; so I made my parenting decisions with those end results in mind.

And our own lives.  How do we decide what to do each day?  What do we value?  What gets our time and attention and resources?

Start at the end and work backwards, and the end I’m thinking of is the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:10 says, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

So how are you planning your life?

Start at the end and work backwards.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Read Medieval Art

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

How to Read Medieval Art.

That’s the name of the new book I picked up at the library.

How to Read Medieval Art.

So you mean there are hidden messages and clues in the art, like a mystery?  I’m in!  Give me that book.

Then I read something very interesting in the foreword, which was written by Thomas P. Campbell, the director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It’s also known as The Met in New York City, it’s the largest art museum in the United States, and it’s among the most visited art museums in the world.

In the foreword he points out that much of medieval art is based on biblical themes.  Now listen to this.  He wrote, “To modern readers and museum visitors, the narratives of the Judeo-Christian tradition may be as unfamiliar as those of Egyptian gods.”


So here we are, with more Christian publishing, more Bibles, more books, more media, more websites, more preaching, and probably more churches and evangelism than ever.

And yet medieval art with biblical themes requires special explanation, similar to what we need to understand long-defunct, ancient Egyptian gods.

Can that be true?

It may be – partly because a chunk of the people hanging around at The Met are probably not prone to be in church this Sunday.

But even among church-going Christians, studies show a plunge in biblical literacy, especially among younger people.

Well, we can’t change the world, but we can make sure that in our homes and families, and in our churches, we are providing the education and teaching and biblical training that’s needed.

If we don’t, the truths of God are going to seem as mysterious to coming generations as some ancient Egyptian god.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How is Your Family Dynasty?

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Have you heard of the dynasty of King Jeroboam?

No, because it never happened.

Oh, it should have happened.  The dynasty of Jeroboam was foretold by the prophet.

In First Kings 11:38, it was Ahijah, the prophet of Shiloh, who told Jeroboam that God was going to make him king, and that God would give him a family dynasty...IF he would listen to the Lord’s commands and do what was right in God’s eyes.

And you know what?  That’s what I want to do!  It’s my heart’s desire and my prayer.  “Lord, I want to listen to Your commands.  I want to walk in Your ways.  I want to follow You, Good Shepherd, every day!”

And that, my friend, is how you build your family dynasty.

You establish your family dynasty on the foundation of God and His ways. 

Look around and see.  Families that put God in the center and walk in His ways – those are strong families.  They aren’t riddled and pockmarked with divorce, adultery, abuse and neglect. 

So how are you doing with your family dynasty? 

The good news is that, even if your family is a garbage heap up until now, you can change that starting today.  Start following God, walk in His ways and you will immediately begin to see the foundation start to firm up beneath you.

But poor Jeroboam.  He decided to ignore the prophet.

Some of the saddest words in the Bible are found in 1 Kings 12:28.  After seeking advice, Jeroboam made two golden calves.

He took the promise of the prophet and chucked it. 

No dynasty for Jeroboam.

But we can build a rich family dynasty!...when we seek the Lord with all of our heart and desire to walk in His ways.

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Are You Drinking the Kool-Aid or the Living Water?

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Are you drinking the Kool-Aid or the living water?

I mean, where are you getting your values?  On what foundation are you building your life?

Are you plugged into TV all day?  Is your favorite news channel like an IV pumping Kool-Aid into your veins?

Is it soap operas?  And you know that show you’re binging on is basically a soap opera, right?  That’s why you can’t stop watching.

But all these things impart values and morals.  Our books.  Our novels.  The people filling our news feeds.  The click bait.

We keep going back to the same sources and drinking the artificial...but colorful!...Kool-Aid.

Meanwhile, we have an amazing source of living water – the Holy Spirit of God who lives inside every Christian believer.  (John 7:38-39)

Living water – it’s a spiritual spring, teeming with life! 

It’s the Spirit of God inside of us, flowing within us...but we have to tap into it.  We seek God in prayer and praise and Bible study, and we tap into His living water.  We draw near to Him, and He draws near to us.  (James 4:8)

Then He shows us things, ways to live, attitudes to adopt; and when we do, He establishes our lives on a firm foundation.

In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew chapter 7, Jesus said that when we hear His teachings and do them, we are building our lives on a solid foundation.

Sometimes people accuse fired up Christians of drinking the Kool-Aid.  On the contrary.  The world is sucking down the Kool-Aid like a maniacal third grader.  And even Christians can fall for the cartoonish colors, shovels of sugar and short-lived satisfaction. 

So stop with the Kool-Aid.

Instead, let us run to the living water, clean and refreshing and satisfying! 

God bless you, today.

I’m Doug Apple.